Life insurance is one of the most important purchases that you could ever make for your family, but we know that finding the perfect plan isn’t always easy. There are dozens of factors that can impact your plan. Luckily, we are here to help make the process as quick and simple as possible.
Many people suffer from sleep apnea, although they don’t even know it.
The most common element of sleep apnea, besides burning a good night’s sleep, sleep apnea also has potential for more severe health risks.
If you have sleep apnea then most likely you’ve been suggested by your doctor to wear your CPAP.
For many that are claustrophobic or have different intolerances to a CPAP machine, sometimes a dental device is recommended.
These devices are often used mainly for more moderate cases of sleep apnea and for those who are not obese.
Getting Approved for Term Life with Sleep Apnea
When getting approved term life insurance with sleep apnea, the first thing that the insurance company will want to know is are you wearing your CPAP on a regular basis. They’re also going to want to see the results of wearing your CPAP, also known as a sleep study.
FYI, I read of a case where an individual was diagnosed with sleep apnea many years ago but never saw enough extreme symptoms to do anything about it. When applying for life insurance it came back on her APS and Banner Life Insurance Company immediately wanted to see a sleep study before they were able to proceed. But the sleep study was not covered by the insurance company, so it was rather pricey at around $1500. Turns out that they were able to do a home sleep study at a much reduced cost, and asked if their doctor would sign off on it. (They ordered the sleep study kit online). Sure enough they would, and they saved well over $1000 in doing so.
How do you make sure you get the most affordable rate if you have sleep apnea?
The first thing they had to realize regarding insurance companies is that certain carriers are much more aggressive in writing certain conditions; this is common among all high risk life insurance. If you got a quote from a carrier and it seems rather high, it’s best to shop around to make sure that you explored all options. In working with over 60 of the top life insurance companies, that’s what we do for our clients.
To ensure that we get you partnered with the right insurance company, we typically will ask several questions regarding your sleep apnea to make sure that we uncover all the facts.
Here’s a quick rundown of the questions that we ask before we try to find you the best rate with the best carrier.
Sleep Apnea Questionnaire
1. Please provide date of diagnosis.
2. Has the sleep apnea been diagnosed as obstructive, central, mix, or unknown.
3. Has the severity of the sleep apnea been stable, increasing, decreasing, fluctuating up and down, or unknown?
4. Has an overnight sleep study; polysomnogram been done? No. Yes. If yes, what date? What was the sleep apnea index? What was the oxygen saturation percentage?
5. How is sleep apnea being treated? No treatment. Medicated. Weight loss. CPAP mask. Surgery (UPPP). Surgery (Tracheotomy). Other.
6. Does the proposed insured have any of the following: Overweight. Arrhythmia. Coronary artery disease. Stroke. Depression. Lung disease. Other.
7. Does the proposed insured use any alcohol? If yes, please describe usage.
8. Does the proposed insured use any medications for any reason? List name of medication, dates used, quantity taken and frequency taken.
Life Insurance Rates with Sleep Apnea
As with most high risk conditions, people are expected to pay more for their life insurance premium if they suffered from sleep apnea. With several companies being more aggressive in their underwriting, it’s actually possible to get approved for preferred (sometimes preferred best) even if you have sleep apnea.
If you can demonstrate that and you have no other conditions, then you, too, can enjoy cheap term life insurance.
Recently we had a guy call in that was looking for a 30 year term life insurance policy. His only issue was that he had sleep apnea. He had been diagnosed with mild obstructive sleep apnea almost 4 years ago. He has not had any problems since his diagnosis because he was put on a CPAP machine. His local agent had no experience insuring anyone with sleep apnea. He was unaware of which carriers were more aggressive when it comes to underwriting sleep apnea as well. We were able to get him approved at a Preferred rating from Transamerica.
Can You Get Preferred Plus Rates with Sleep Apnea?
Actually, yes, in some cases. We have pinpointed a carrier that can offer up to Preferred Best on permanent products for clients with a history of sleep apnea . Obviously, not all cases will qualify, so what makes the difference between a Preferred Best sleep apnea case and one that may end up Standard or worse? Two words: compliance and control.
Like most impairments, the carrier’s willingness and ability to make a great offer on a sleep apnea case will depend largely on the proposed insured’s compliance with their physician’s prescribed course of treatment, as well as the treatment’s actual effectiveness. What could that look like? Consider the following:
- 50-year-old male who qualifies for Preferred Best rates with the exception of an abnormal sleep study two years ago.
- A diagnosis of moderate obstructive sleep apnea was made at the time, and a CPAP was prescribed.
- Two subsequent studies (one six months post diagnosis, a second six months prior to the application) were normal.
- The documented compliance and control enabled the carrier to offer Preferred Best.
- Before we all dust off old sleep apnea cases and get them ready to submit, there are some additional factors to consider:
- The initial diagnosis was obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), rather than central, or mixed apnea .
- OSA was categorized as no worse than “moderate”.
- The prescribed treatment demonstrated resolution of the symptoms.
- The proposed insured was a nonsmoker.
Having underwritten an OSA case or two over the years, the big challenge here is the subsequent sleep studies. In the vast majority of cases, the proposed insured fails to return for the recommended follow ups that were the lynchpin of the case described above. The real issue is the documentation of compliance and control. It may not be enough that the proposed insured “uses their CPAP”. Without the subsequent sleep studies to create the paper trail, the underwriter is left with very little choice but to assume that there is still a potential issue, resulting in Standard or worse.
Your sleep apnea diagnosis isn’t the only factor that the insurance company is going to use to calculate your insurance premiums or your chances of being accepted for coverage. When you apply for life insurance, the insurance company is going to want a full picture of your overall health and how much risk you are to insure.
After you complete the initial paperwork for the insurance policy, the company is going to require that you take a medical exam before they accept your application, unless you have opted to enroll in a no medical exam life insurance policy, which will come with higher premium rates. With the medical exam, they are going to check your weight, blood pressure, heart rate, and look for any pre-existing conditions. The paramedic is going to require a blood sample as well as a urine sample during the medical exam.
If you want to get the best rates for your insurance coverage, or to improve your chances of being approved for life insurance, you’ll need to improve your health. There are several ways that you can do this and keep more money in your pockets.
The first thing that you should do is start a healthy diet. Putting down the junk food and replacing it with healthier options, is a great way to lose weight and lower your cholesterol. A great way to supplement the diet is by getting regular exercise. This will also help you lose weight and lower your heart rate. Both of these are going to translate into lower rates on your life insurance plan.
Another way that you can lower your insurance rates is to eliminate any tobacco that you currently use. If you’re listed as a smoker on your life insurance application, you’re going to pay much more for your life insurance application. Smokers are going to pay twice as much for their life insurance versus what a non-smoker is going to pay for the same amount of coverage. If you want to get the most affordable plan possible, it’s time to put the cigarettes down once and for all.
The best way to ensure that you’re getting the lowest rates is to work with an independent insurance agent. Unlike a traditional insurance agent, our independent insurance agents work with dozens of highly rated companies across the United States. Every insurance company is different and have different medical underwriting that is going to treat sleep apnea differently. You could get drastically different rates from two separate companies. It’s easy to see why it’s vital that you get the quality insurance protection that you and your family need.
If you have any questions about getting life insurance with sleep apnea or about the different options available to you, please contact one of our agents today. We would be happy to answer those questions and ensure that you’re getting the best rates available.
Make sure you speak with an experienced agent today!